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Video: Author & Punisher – “Terrorbird”

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Above is the video for “Terrorbird” by Author & Punisher. You can hear all of his 2012 album Ursus Americanus on his Bandcamp.

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It’s rare that a music video sells me on a metal band. Videos (the good ones, anyway) are usually capital-intensive affairs; since most metal bands I’m likely to enjoy have limited financial resources, they often devote the bulk of those resources to recording their music. Consequently, the video-driven promotional model of pop music’s last few decades hasn’t caught on here. The only metal band I can think of that caught my attention with a video is Red Fang, who didn’t retain it.

With “Terrorbird,” Author & Punisher has also bucked my trend. Rarely have I seen a music video that so neatly encapsulates the aesthetic and attitude of its song.

Author & Punisher is really one man—Tristan Shone, a professional engineer who takes Streetcleaner-era Godflesh to a synthetic extreme. It is a monomaniacal project; Shone controls every aspect of the music by hand, and even designs his custom electronic instruments (which he calls ‘machines’) himself. Like a lot of electronic heavy music, Author & Punisher has an erotic component. In his recent interview with us, Shone mentioned the importance of tactile satisfaction to his music—his machines have to feel right when he operates them.

The “Terrorbird” video feels right. It features predictable visual hallmarks—a dank industrial setting, black and white footage, a goo-dripping Cronenbergian monstrosity, fountains of blood, and a haggard-looking Shone enduring rough treatment. Excellent cinematography brings life to these images. Director Augustine Arredondo treats the material like pornography; the camera glides lecherously over the setting’s grimy surfaces. At the video’s climactic moment, a Wrest lookalike (actually the prolific San Diego musician Rob Crow) is showered by his own gore. The scene resembles an unbearably foul cumshot.

The “Terrorbird” video revolves around an idea near and dear to metal musicians: some sounds are killing sounds. That Shone believes so places him firmly in the metal camp, regardless of what machines he runs.

— Doug Moore

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